This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org. A series of frequently broadcast TV commercials ask, “What’s in your wallet?” Along with a driver’s license, family photos, old receipts, and heaven knows what else, the average American has three credit cards. Boomers have almost five.
This finding is somewhat paradoxical since it’s well documented that retirees spend less as they advance in years. So what’s up with all that plastic taking up space in our wallets? Habit and inattention are most likely to blame. Maybe a card was obtained years ago and, especially if there’s no annual fee, is tucked away unused and forgotten about. See: 8 signs you need a new credit card No harm no foul, right? Besides, common advice for retirees is to minimize credit card usage anyway. But here’s the thing. If you are one of the 71% of Americans making purchases with either cash or debit cards, you’re unwittingly leaving money on the table. Want to travel more? Credit-card issuers’ sign-up bonuses of over 100,000 miles or points can help pay for your trip. Looking to cut corners in these inflationary times? Cash-back cards offer bonuses of up to $200 on the first $500 you charge to them and 5% cash back on subsequent purchases. (All offers valid at time of publication.) Many people suspect they are not getting the best deals on their credit cards. A recent nationwide survey of 1,000 people conducted for Experian
the credit reporting agency, found that more than half of Americans ar …